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Who is free of temptations?

Wednes­day. [Eph. 5:25-33; Luke 4:1-15] The dev­il ap­proach­es the God-man with temp­ta­tions. Who a­mong men is free of them? He who goes ac­cord­ing to the will of the evil one does not ex­pe­ri­ence at­tacks, but is sim­ply turn­ed more and more to­ward evil. As soon as one be­gins to come to him­self and in­tends to be­gin a new life ac­cord­ing to God’s will, im­me­di­ate­ly the en­tire sa­tan­ic realm en­ters in­to ac­tion: they has­ten to scat­ter good thoughts and the in­ten­tions of the re­pen­tant one in any way they can. If they do not man­age to turn him aside, they at­tempt to hin­der his good re­pen­tance and con­fes­sion; if they do not man­age to do that, they con­trive to sow tares a­midst the fruits of re­pen­tance and dis­rupt his la­bours of cleans­ing the heart. If they do not suc­ceed in sug­gest­ing evil they at­tempt to dis­tort the truth; if they are re­pulsed in­ward­ly they at­tack out­ward­ly, and so on un­til the end of one’s life. They do not even let one die in peace; even af­ter death they pur­sue the soul, un­til it es­capes the ae­ri­al space where they hov­er and con­gre­gate. You ask, “What should we do? It is hope­less and terrifying!” For a be­liev­er there is noth­ing terrifying here, be­cause near a God-fear­ing man de­mons on­ly busy them­selves, but they do not have any pow­er over him. A so­ber man of prayer shoots ar­rows a­gainst them, and they stay far a­way from him, not dar­ing to ap­proach, and fear­ing the de­feat which they have al­ready ex­pe­ri­enced. If they suc­ceed in some­thing, it is due to our blun­der­ing. We slack­en our at­ten­tion, or al­low our­selves to be dis­tract­ed by their phan­toms, and they im­me­di­ate­ly come and dis­turb us more bold­ly. If you do not come to your sens­es in time they will whirl you a­bout; but if a soul does come to its sens­es they again re­coil and spy from afar to see wheth­er it is pos­si­ble to ap­proach again some­how. So be so­ber, watch, and pray — and the en­e­mies will do noth­ing to you.

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